What You’ve Missed…
* God tells Jacob to go back to his homeland in a dream that features a lot of horny goats.
* Laban (the father-in-law) gets all angry and yells at Jacob who gets all whiny and yells at Laban.
* The men resolve their differences the same way my brothers and I did on long family car trips…they drew an imaginary line between themselves and agreed not to cross into each others’ territory. (I hope it worked better for them, because that line only lasted about three seconds in our family.)
* Jacob and his thousands of animals, thirteen children and four wives, all head home. (Speaking of long family trips…this sounds miserable, and without a Stuckey’s in sight.)
Daily Reading: Genesis 32-35
In sixth grade I took nine weeks of Latin. I don’t remember much of anything during that time, mostly because I spent that period punching myself in the face because of the horror that is Latin. The rest of the time I was lost in thought puzzling out how some of my classmates had found a way to start growing facial hair. However, in the few seconds I did pay attention, I remember the teacher telling us all about the Greek gods…and how they came down to Earth to mess with people. They would sleep with them, fall in love with them, torture them or even fight them. I remember thinking it was ridiculous that people used to actually believe that stuff. Well, just like the rest of middle school, turns out the joke was on me.
Apparently Christianity has its own crazy story of God coming down to find someone to pick a fight with. One night Jacob is hanging out all alone when out of nowhere a dude walks up and just starts fighting him for no reason. Apparently this is the cultural norm at the time because Jacob goes along and wrestles the guy all night long without ever asking what they’re fighting about. As morning approaches the mystery attacker realizes he isn’t going to win. So what does he do? He pulls out the mother-of-all pressure point moves and touches Jacob’s hip, wrenching it out of its socket. If this were me you’d better believe I’d immediately be in the fetal position, which, let’s be honest, I probably already would’ve been in anyway…but not Jacob…the dude isn’t even phased. He continues to wrestle so hard, he gets other guy cry “uncle”.
Short story even shorter, turns out the guy was God. (Did you catch that? Jacob got God to cry “uncle”. I can barely handle a pair of jumper cables, and this guy got God to cry “uncle.”) God goes on to bless Jacob and gives him a new name saying, “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” (Gen. 32:28)
So let me get this straight. Jacob is doing his thing, and God walks by and just…jumps him? He’s sees Jacob and decides to just start wailing on him? And even though he clearly has Mortal Kombat fighting capabilities, he lets Jacob win? Then He gives him a blessing (along with a serious limp)? Why? What is God doing here? It all just seems so…unnecessary, so…bizarre.
And why is the Bible so casual about the whole thing? This is God, the Almighty Creator, allowing himself to literally be manhandled by some regular Joe Schmo. Why is the author not having his mind completely blown? This is THE Pay Per View fight of the millennium, and it comes across as an amusing anecdote that probably turned Jacob into the ultimate one-upper.
And if this was God in the form of a man…was it Jesus that was wrestling? Could He just not wait a couple more years for WWE and simply had to come on down to get His wrestle on? Was the point to show us He can dominate us whenever He wants, but that His real desire is to interact with us? To roll around in the dirt, gettin’ into the nitty gritty with us?
I just don’t know what to do with this, other than be glad it wasn’t me because the last time I was in a fight was with Duane Terry in seventh grade where we both threw one punch, we both missed, and we both decided to call it a draw. And that was the best I could do against an uncoordinated seventh grader…let alone God.
(On a completely separate note…for some interesting reading check out Genesis 34. It’s insane. Two of Jacob’s sons wipe out all the men of a nearby town because the prince raped their sister. The best part is before they killed everyone, Jacob’s sons made the men circumcise themselves first. C’mon, that’s just mean.)
I bet Jacob/Israel’s kids (and grandkids, and great grandkids, and great great… etc) got so tired of hearing the “I wrestled with God and won” story. “Noooot agaaain, Pops!!!”
Awesome writing and funny pics, Mac! You’re a cool kid.
this story’s been a huge them this season. never quuuuuite approached it in this way but thanks for making me look at it differently, macgregor!
what’s a Stuckey??
Hope…a Stuckey’s is America’s greatest roadside rest stop. And by America’s greatest roadside rest stop, I mean it’s a place where you can get gas, snacks and overpriced tourist junk. Yet, somehow Stuckey’s charms me every time. Every single time. I even bought coasters at a Stuckey’s once…and as a single male, I NEVER use coasters. That is the power of Stuckey’s.